The Butterfly Effect: The Effects of Free Porn on Society

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I recently listened to the Audible series called the Butterfly Effect, by Jon Ronson. He’s written books like The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was made into a movie starring George Clooney. It’s based on the true story of an American Military program. This was centred around literally training soldiers to walk through walls and use nothing but their minds to make goats fall over. The Butterfly Effect is about how porn transitioned from a profitable industry to being freely available through the internet. There are many fascinating aspects of the situation, and I’m sure that there are other perspectives that disagree with Ronson’s conclusions. Nevertheless, the story that he tells based on interviews with people within the industry is thought-provoking.

 

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One of the main issues that Jon Ronson elaborates on is the dramatically reduced profits from porn since it became free. This has negative impacts on the producers and actors, and porn stars have a way harder time (pun intended) with making a living than they did before. Apparently, since most men prefer teen or MILF porn, the average attractive woman between the ages of about 27 and 37 have a difficult time with finding work.

 

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Since there’s much less money in the industry, porn stars are doing a lot of custom videos. These cater to any fetish you can imagine. Many people get porn stars to do bizarre things that you might not expect, some of which are not even sexual. One guy wanted a female porn star to burn his stamp collection. Have you ever been turned on by stamps, or people burning your prized possessions?

 

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Ronson also examines how porn became free, through interviews with people who made it happen. This is an oversimplification, but basically, a bunch of smart guys applied Youtube’s website and business model to porn. It wasn’t weirdos with porn fetishes, like you might have expected. It was just nerds who love coding and money, and they used their skills to make incredible profits. They’re rich as fuck now.

 

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There is one aspect of this story that I find more engrossing than the rest of it because it’s counterintuitive. This has to do with teenagers. Contrary to what you might think, they are actually having less sex than previous generations. Yes, you read that correctly. Also, boys are experiencing rising rates (pun intended) of erectile dysfunction. Why is this? It’s hard (pun intended) to say for sure. But it’s likely because free porn is making teenagers so desensitized that regular sex with actual people loses its appeal. When teenage boys can watch free hardcore porn any time they want to, it makes sense that doing this too much would make it more difficult to get it up during sex with a real person. It also helps explain why teenagers less interested in it. Sex with a normal person can probably seem boring if you’re used to seeing porn stars doing all kinds of unusual, aggressive, fetishistic, and acrobatic manoeuvres.

 

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Porn becoming free, along with the increasing ubiquitous nature of the internet, continue to have massive effects on society. Most people never talk or write about this, which in my opinion is largely because western culture is still kind of puritanical about sex. We show all kinds of violence and gore on T’.V. and movies, but explicit sex is much more of a taboo. In Europe and some other places, there’s much less of a stigma about sex. The impact that free porn has on western culture is fascinating whether you think that it’s ultimately good, or bad. From many people’s perspectives, it’s awesome. Others look down on porn as a whole, particularly conservative religious people. But there are arguably negative effects of free porn, some of which have nothing to do with religion. Other consequences are perhaps positive in unexpected ways. Maybe it’s better for less teens to have sex. But it’s bad for erectile dysfunction to be a problem for men at increasingly younger ages. Regardless of your moral opinion about free porn, how it became that way, and the impacts on society, create a fascinating story.

 

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